Beyond the Classroom: Applying Literacy to Promote Equity

During the 2013 Read.Write.Act Virtual Conference, presenters and participants explored how literacy can be applied to various social justice themes. SCALE sought presenters to discuss how literacy can move beyond the classroom and be applied to other issues to promote justice and equality across society. From health literacy, to financial literacy, to using literacy to promote women’s empowerment, the possibilities are endless!

As always, we also welcomed and encouraged proposals about specific teaching techniques, and asked that presenters indicate how these techniques can have wider applications. For example, if discussing techniques for teaching ESL grammar, suggest ways to apply this to other issues through application and contextual-based activities. Literacy is everywhere!


Jean F. Coppola, Associate Professor, Pace University

Jean F. Coppola is an associate professor of Information Technology in the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems at Pace University, New York. Her research interests include service-learning in higher education computing programs, gerontechnology, and intergenerational computing. Her studies focus on how technology helps improve the quality of life in older adults, enhance cognitive functioning, as well as how intergenerational computing programs change student attitudes towards the elderly. Research efforts have led to awards including: American Society of Aging MetLife MindAlert Award for Mental Fitness Program; Isabel Brabazon Award for Evaluation and Research in Intergenerational Programs; Women: Builders of Communities and Dreams; and the Jefferson Award for Public Service.


Nina Medrano, Graduate Student, University of Texas-Pan American

Nina Medrano is a graduate student at the University of Texas-Pan American. She is seeking her degree in English Literature with a focus on young adult anti-bullying novels. Her goal is to work with at-risk youth while being able to teach the YA author that changed her life, Robert Cormier


Susan Lupton, Center for Responsible Lending, Durham, North Carolina


Dr. Deborah Hecht, Senior Research Scientist, and Ms. Alina Samusevich, Graduate Student/Research Assistant, Center for Advanced Study in Education, The Graduate Center at The City

Ms. Alina Samusevich is a Master’s student at Teachers College-Columbia University, pursuing a degree in speech-language pathology. She is also an intern at the Center for Advanced Studies in Education (CASE) at the CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Deborah Hecht is a Senior Research Scientist at CASE. Her research interests include service-learning, social justice and educational reform.


Joanna Neel, Ed. D., Assistant Professor-Reading, University of Texas at Tyler

Joanna Neel, Ed. D. has 15+ years in public education, and is currently Assistant Professor in reading. She conducts research in elementary schools, focusing on collaborating with public schools and building effective literacy coaching relationships with teachers, parents/ families.


Melissa Edwards, Instructional Technologist, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Melissa Edwards uses her background as a classroom teacher and a focus on literacy to impact the instructional technology resources she shares.


Melissa Sadler-Nitu, Director, Adult Education Cooperative, Guadalupe, Comal & Kendall Counties

Melissa Sadler-Nitu is the Director of the Adult Education Cooperative Comal, Guadalupe & Kendall Counties, serving over 1200 students per year in GED preparation, English as a Second Language, Citizenship and Transitions to Post-Secondary Education. Her cooperative serves eight school districts north of San Antonio and partners with Alamo Colleges, Texas Lutheran University, Workforce Solutions, local businesses and organizations. Ms. Nitu has over 15 years of experience transitioning English as a Second Language students into college at a variety of levels. She serves as the Chair of Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers (AALPD) making recommendations to the Federal Legislation regarding Adult Education and Professional Development, Vice President of Texas Council on Adult Basic Education advocating for Adult Education Administrators all over Texas, and author of Career and Educational Pathways by Cambridge University Press.

Crystal Shannon PhD, MBA,RN, Assistant Professor, Indiana University Northwest

Crystal Shannon is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Indiana University Northwest with 20 years of nursing experience in the areas of obstetrics, reproductive endocrinology, case management, gerontology, community health nursing, public health, community-based health promotion, education and community health literacy. Her doctoral work focused on the role and involvement of local nursing schools on improving the health of the community. Her research interests include community-based health, participatory research, and the social responsibility of health professions. She has worked with prelicensure nursing students to support local community agencies and the promotion of community health concepts. She continues to collaborate with local representatives to design quality community engagement activities for student learning and the promotion of community health.


 Abha Gupta, Associate Professor, Language and Literacy Education, Old Dominion University, Wendy C. Kasten, Professor, Kent State University, Sue Ann Sharma, Visiting Associate Professor, Oakland University

Dr. Abha Gupta is an Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where she teaches graduate and doctoral level courses.

Dr. Wendy Kasten is a professor at Kent State University. She is 1996-2002 president of C.E.L.T., (Center for the Expansion of Language and Thinking), an invitational society of literacy educators who advocate meaning-centered views of learning. She is Associate Editor of Reading and Writing Quarterly.

Dr. Sue Sharma is a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Reading and Language Arts in Oakland University. She is the past president of Michigan Reading Association and a member of International Reading Association’s diversity learning committee.


Anna Augusto Rodrigues, Teacher and Student, Durham College / University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Anna Augusto Rodrigues has taught at Durham College, located in Oshawa, Ontario for seven years after working in TV news for a decade. She teaches a variety of media- related courses including broadcast journalism, online journalism, social media, magazine writing and magazine publishing.

Anna has a Master of Education with a focus on digital technologies from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and is pursuing doctoral studies in education at York University. Her research interests include looking at the impact of technology on literacy, digital literacies and new literacies. She is also an avid photographer and is very interested in the field of visual research.

Intersecting her teaching and learning is an intense interest in social justice issues. She is influenced by the works of Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux and bell hooks. Her work can be found at


Mindy Keller-Kyriakides, Author, Student, Teacher, Capella University

Mindy Keller-Kyriakides graduated summa cum laude from Florida Atlantic University and began teaching in 1998. Her career spans from teaching remedial to advanced courses in English as well as Theatre and Debate within both traditional and virtual environments. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s degree at Capella University. Her book, Transparent Teaching of Adolescents, is being used in Education foundation courses to help secondary teachers better understand how to develop a productive learning environment.

Stacey Duncan, College Assistant Professor, New Mexico State University, Eileen Davis, New Mexico State University

Stacey Duncan, PhD, is an adjunct professor and consultant in the Southwestern Borderlands. She has the fortune to teach in Teacher Education programs at both New Mexico State University and the University of Texas at El Paso, in addition to teaching Developmental Education courses at the Doña Ana Community College in Las Cruces, NM. Her dissertation studied a particular form of deep dialogue for critical consciousness, and her academic specialization is in Language, Literacy and Culture. She founded a Critical Literacy Collective with former students and colleagues that focuses on significant issues in education and society. Her recent endeavor is border stories, a bring-your-own book club that centers around the fact that literacy is everywhere.

Eileen Davis attained a BA degree in Elementary Education in 1992 from the University of New Orleans. Twenty years of teaching in elementary and middle schools, together with museum and naturalist interpreter teaching assignments, has allowed the perspective of a veteran teacher. After completing the Master’s Program for Curriculum and Instruction at New Mexico State University, Eileen is working on attaining a Secondary Certification to teach high school. The theory, practice and performance of her own learning is a redefining of a dream classroom where all students have the power to learn, and the ability to influence their own lives and communities. Eileen is also a member of Critical Literacy Collective and border stories with Stacey Duncan.


Jada Monica Drew, Director, Africana CHANGE-Guilford College

Jada Monica Drew is an international educator passionate about creating learning spaces that empower people for change. Jada is the Director of Multicultural Education at guilford College, Founder of the Africana CHANGE Program, co-orgazier for the national Youth Action Project-White Privilege Conference, CEO of Social Designs Consulting Firm, and former AmeriCorps coordinator of a Scale funded literacy program-Student to Student.


Alana Tutwiler, Reading Interventionist, Duval County Public Schools

Alana Tutwiler is a Reading Interventionist with Duval County Public Schools and a graduate student in the College of Education at The University of North Florida. She has worked with a non-profit organization serving incarcerated adult women in a residential setting, teaching adult literacy, GED, and employability skills. She developed an employability skills workshop specifically tailored to the needs of incarcerated women who were about to be released and re-enter the workforce.


Liz Barber, Sharon Jacobs, Karen Thompson, Dean Driver & Student Leaders from SMART PATH Tutoring for Social Justice

Liz Barber, Ph.D., is an experienced public school teacher, literacy studies professor, and ethnographic researcher. She teaches courses on global leadership and ethnographic research methods in the Leadership Studies doctoral program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC, and conducts participatory action research projects in both Greensboro and Domasi, Malawi. Her research focuses on literacy and leadership as these develop within cultures or communities of practice.

Sharon Jacobs is an experienced public school teacher, former assistant principal at Hairston Middle School, Nationally Board Certified Teacher-Middle Childhood Generalist, and founding principal of Washington Montessori School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sharon is a NC native who matriculated through the Durham Public School System, and received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She has worked in public schools in Rockingham County and Guilford County, NC, and in Bexhill-On-Sea in East Sussex, England. Sharon is passionate about the learning process, and committed to service, committed to change, and committed to children.

Karen Thompson is the executive director of Black Child Development Institute of Greensboro, North Carolina, an organization which focuses on narrowing the academic achievement gap which exists for children because of their ethnicity and socio-economic status. Karen holds a masters degree in education and human development with a concentration in school counseling from George Washington University. She has over 22 years of experience working in non-profit environments specifically focusing on programs that improve the lives of children in the community.

Dean Driver is an aeronautics engineer who invented and patented Pathematics, a way of teaching math through engaging children and youth on a 10′ X 70′ Runway. Concepts from beginning math to factoring and algrebraic equations can be experienced by learners on the Runway to build a bodily sense of number. Pathematics is used in school divisons on the estarn seaboard of the US, and in African contexts. Dean is a generous longterm partner for Sharon Jacobs and Washington Montessori Elementary, as well as to SMART PATH, and equally dedicated to leveling the playing field for low income learners.

Carl Redd II is a senior secondary math education major at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University. His first role in the SMART PATH Tutoring and Enrichment program was as a tutor completing a field experience. He never imagined becoming a SMART PATH site director, or presenting at prestigious conferences such as the Lilly South and the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators. Carl learned about key aspects of teaching including lesson planning and classroom management, plus gained experience in using service learning as a pedagogy — all of which are vital in becoming an educator — through his participation in SMART PATH.

Jordan Toler is a senior liberal studies major with a concentration in Race, Class, and Culture at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She is currently serving as an AmeriCorps team member on the 2012-2013 Spirit of Excellence for Black Child Development Institute of Greensboro. She tutors children in literacy and mathematics in the Guilford County School System. She also serves as the 2013 lead site director for the SMART PATH Tutoring and Enrichment program. Jordan started in SMART PATH to fulfill a course-based field experience. She fell in love with the program and took on a role as a site director, where she developed leadership skills she will use in her career.

Michael Watlington is a graduate student in counseling at North Carolina A&T. He tutored in SMART PATH as an undergrad psychology major, and returned to serve as a Site Director as a grad student. Michael has a deep commitment to the black community, to black youth, young black men, and the educational otucomes of children of color. He serves in multiple capacities with numerous community organizations that support these causes. His desire is to become a public school guidance counselor.

Jeshara Shaw is a senior elementary education major at North Carolina A&T. She tutored with SMART PATH in fall 2012 and return in spring as a Site Director. Her goal is to become a reading specialist and serve low income children.

Catherine Odametey is a senior elementary education major at North Carolina A&T. She tutored with SMART PATH in fall 2012 and simultaneously completed an Honors Research Project on program outcomes. She returned in spring as a Site Director.

Dominique Sykes is a senior secondary English education major at North Carolina A&T who tutored in SMART PATH in spring 2013 and is returning in fall as a Site Director. Her career goal is to teach low income students.

William Goode is an elementary education major at North Carolina A&T who tutored in SMART PATH in spring 2013 and is returning in fall as a Site Director. William is dedicated to serving low income children and leveling the playing field for them.

Kapresha Daniels is a senior early childhood B-K major at North Carolina A&T who tutored in SMART PATH in spring 2013. She is returning in fall as a Site Director.

Anita Freeman is completing her master’s in reading at North Carolina A&T. She tutored in SMART PATH in spring 2013 and is returning in fall as a Site Director. Her goal is to serve as a reading specialsit.

Chanel Bordley is a senior secondary biology education major at North Carolina A&T. She tutored in SMART PATH in spring 2013 and is returning in fall as a Site Director.

Ashelyn Hazel is a senior elementary education major at North Carolina A&T. She tutored in SMART PATH in her sophomore year, returned in spring 2013, and is serving as a Site Director in fall.

HealthED Project:Creating a Health Education Intervention for Diverse Communities

Ann Anaebere, RN, PhD, HealthED Project

The HealthED Project is a professional and educational speaker service that seeks to provide professional mentorship in nursing and health education to diverse populations. Health education topics include HIV/AIDS, hypertension, diabetes, obesity prevention, nutrition & safety education for diverse populations. Additionally, our speaker seeks to touch on the complex social, cultural and faith-based issues surrounding these educational topics. The HealthED project speaker is available to speak at a variety of events. Furthermore, by seeking to target the most vulnerable populations The Health ED Project speaker seeks to provide health education at homeless and transitional shelters, churches, schools, correctional facilities, domestic violence shelters, libraries, food pantries and substance abuse rehabilitation centers. We believe that some of the most effective forms of learning can occur outside of the classroom and in the community. Key words: Health Education, Speaker Services, Diverse Communities

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Literacy & At-Home Daycare Providers: A Cross-Disciplinary Service-Learning Project

Bridget Brace-MacDonald, Medaille College

In the Spring 2013 semester at Medaille College, students in a graduate Literacy course collaborated with undergraduate students in a video production course to write, act in, and produce a DVD featuring an overview and demonstrations of best-practice literacy techniques. The Program Director for Master’s degree in Literacy and the Chair of the Communication Department worked closely with the Center for Community-Based Learning to coordinate the logistics of the project. The video concept was the result of meetings with the local Office of Children & Family Services, an organization that had approached the Center for Community-Based Learning with a need for literacy information to be distributed to licensed, at-home daycare provides. Upon completion of the video, the OCFS will distribute copies of the DVD to at-home daycare providers via their training network, and share the DVD state-wide.

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Introducing the Adolescent Literacy Ning

Kathryn Caprino, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This virtual presentation in the form of a PowerPoint will introduce conference participants to a new Ning that has just been started to create a space for teachers, researchers, and policy makers to discuss adolescents and literacy: the Adolescent Literacy Ning. Professor Leigh Hall and several graduate students are working on the Ning.

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The Benefits of Early Literacy Intervention

Lashenna Gaines, Converse College

If schools are to close the academic gap in literacy, there must be instructional support for students implemented early in their academic career that is specific to their learning needs and that address the deficiencies that they may have with literacy skills. Early childhood literacy provides students with the essential skills needed to fully develop reading skills that can be applied across contexts and grade levels.

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Critical Race Theory examined through Counter Storytelling: Implications for Instruction

Dorian Johnson, Middle Tennessee State University

Stories and narratives recount events in people’s lives which also tell about the social structure from whence they came. The use of narrative writing and reading in the classroom also has key implications. The use of counter-narratives to help students evaluate and reposition themselves has implications for marginalized groups who don’t see themselves in certain arenas. This presentation will analyze the use of counter narratives within the classroom and how critical race theory has applications within educational research.

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Promoting Health Literacy to Reduce Health Disparities

Lana Zinger, Queensborough Community College

The prevalence of health disparities has increased among minority groups largely because they lack critical information about their risk for the disease, management and self-care. This educational initiative will provide access to high quality information about disease prevention not normally available to the greater a minority community. The participants will be empowered with knowledge that will enable them to make informed decisions about lifestyle changes that can prevent or control diseases caused by health disparities, which will ultimately reduce the burden on individuals, families, communities and the healthcare system.

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12 PM, Friday, November 1st

 Technology Literacy to Older Adults through Service-Learning

Jean F. Coppola,  Catharina (Kitty) Daniels, Susan Feather-Gannon, Pauline H. Mosley, Andrea Taylor, Pace University

This presentation will focus on technology-based service-learning courses offered by a university with both urban and suburban campuses. These courses are designed to support social justice for older adults and disadvantaged populations by providing technological literacy skills and thereby helping to improve their quality of life. The perspectives of community partners, students, and faculty will be discussed through representative quotes and anecdotes. Additionally, access to syllabi that include course content and outcomes, video clips, and other materials will be provided.


Fighting Bullies with Books: Using YA Literature to Prevent Bullying in Schools

Nina Medrano, Graduate Student, University of Texas-Pan American

Among the popularity of teen series books focusing on child wizards and teen vampires, there has developed a new sub-genre in young adult literature; this new wave of literature focuses on the problem of bullying in schools. While much research is being conducted on effective anti-bullying programs, young adult novels are the missing piece of the puzzle. When students are able to see their lives played out in books, they are given confidence to openly speak out about bullying and identify effective tools in their own lives for dealing with this ever increasing issue. Also, when teachers have been trained on how to wield this anti-bullying weapon, they can identify students who are in need of help and direct discussions and assignments towards building a bully free school. The genre of anti-bully literature may seem new to most, but it actually began in the 1970’s with the release of Robert Cormier’s book, The Chocolate War and its sequel Beyond the Chocolate War. In these books, we follow the main character, Jerry Renault, through high school and his dealing with a gang of bullies known as the Vigils. The two classic novels offer the viewpoints of not only the bullied, Jerry, but also that of the bullies and the bystanders; these two books should be used as the gateway and introduction to other anti-bully novels such as The Misfits, by James Howe, Scars, by Cherly Rainfiedl, and others. My research will show: 1) anti-bullying young adult novels are being used effectively all over the country to reduce bullying 2) what books are showing the greatest success 3) how teachers can use them to the fullest potential in the classroom and 4) what needs to be done for future success in classrooms with this untapped resource of anti-bullying young adult literature.

1 PM, Friday, November 1st

 Predatory Lending: Every Client’s Worst Nightmare

Susan Lupton, Center for Responsible Lending, Durham, North Carolina

Jumpstart into Social Justice: the Impact on College Students of Providing Literacy Based Service-Learning with Preschool Students

Dr. Deborah Hecht, Senior Research Scientist, and Ms. Alina Samusevich, Graduate Student/Research Assistant, Center for Advanced Study in Education, The Graduate Center at The City University of New York

The presentation will report findings from a study which examined the impact on college students of participating as a mentor and tutor in Jumpstart, an early childhood literacy program that provides support to preschools in low-income neighborhoods. As part of Jumpstart college students are trained to help develop literacy and language skills to their preschool age partners through a series of reading, writing and social activities. The presentation will share what we have learned about the impact these experiences have on college students. In particular, we focus evidence that indicates college students gained a greater understanding and awareness of issues related to diversity, social justice, the value of community service and literacy based educational challenges faced by preschoolers in low income neighborhoods. We will present an overview of our methodological approaches which included collection of data from Jumpstart college students and a comparison group of college students. Assessment tools included surveys, focus groups and observations.

2 PM, Friday, November 1st

 Practical Strategies to Build Literate Partnerships

Joanna Neel, Ed. D., Assistant Professor-Reading, University of Texas at Tyler

Empowering the citizens and participants of a community with literacy tools helps maximize work/ employment potential; helps foster stronger bonds between schools and families; helps citizens become more informed- in order to find needed resources; and  increases potential of citizens by providing literacy skills/ training. Strategies will be shared in this session that help to build and customize literate partnerships within a community that address the needs of the citizens within the community.

Figuring Out How the Pieces Fit

Melissa Edwards, Instructional Technologist, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

If you are asking questions, that means you want to know more… which means you are engaged in learning, even if it is not always the traditional definition of or setting for learning to take place. Since its creation, Wonderopolis® has evolved into a destination not only for families, but for educators to inspire wonder with all students. Come realize the full potential of for educators, students, and parents! This engaging session will present and model ways that Wonderopolis® can be used to promote various forms of literacy including health literacy and financial literacy.

3 PM, Friday, November 1st

Melissa Sadler-Nitu, Director, Adult Education Cooperative, Guadalupe, Comal & Kendall Counties

In our Rotary Club we put together a Literacy Kit for hospitals. We give it to Medicaid parents delivering their baby. It is a 0-3 year old literacy kit to help parents prepare their children for pre-K. It contains a video that we play for the parents showing how to talk to their babies, play etc. The kits are in English and in Spanish and the actors are Adult Learners from our literacy classes. They did the research, created the scripts and did the acting. Come learn more about this program and gain tools on how to replicate it!

 10 AM, Saturday, November 2nd

 Active Learning Methods for Improved Understanding of Health Literacy

Crystal Shannon PhD, MBA,RN, Assistant Professor, Indiana University Northwest

The nursing profession continues to remain one of the primary supporters and promoters of community health. Although this responsibility is not lost on experienced nurses, pre-licensure nursing students continue to report increased difficulty understanding the connection between health literacy and overall health outcomes. Presented here are evidence-based measures and actions that nursing educators can take to refine their approach to introduction and application of health literacy concepts. First year nursing students (n=14) worked in collaboration with a local health care agency to assess the health literacy levels of a local population. As a result of the project, students reported an improved understanding of the health literacy levels for their local community and knowledge of the possible health implications of poor literacy levels. Continued efforts of nursing faculty for development of quality teaching and learning strategies prepare new nurses to be more active and effective for the support of improved community health.

Diversity in Teacher Education Programs in Literacy and Reading

 Abha Gupta, Associate Professor, Language and Literacy Education, Old Dominion University

Wendy C. Kasten, Professor, Kent State University

Sue Ann Sharma, Visiting Associate Professor, Oakland University

The world is becoming increasingly more diverse as are our nation’s classrooms. One critical aspect of respecting diversity as well as using it as a means to strengthen students’ educational experiences and academic outcomes is how the issue of diversity plays out in American teacher education programs in literacy and reading. IRA’s Committee on Learning Diversity has undertaken a national study to examine this issue and will share the results as well as lead a discussion on the implications these findings have on today’s educational systems.

 11 AM, Saturday, November 2nd

 iBlog: Empowering Adult Learners through Blogging with iPads and iPods

Anna Augusto Rodrigues, Teacher and Student, Durham College / University of Ontario Institute of Technology

This research project focused on examining whether adult learners with literacy challenges would feel empowered as a result of creating content for a blog through the use of digital technology. I attempted to understand the impact that blogging and using different types of technology could have on an individual’s self-esteem and whether those feelings of empowerment would encourage an adult learner to pursue further education. Although this research project only ran for a period of six days at a literacy program running at a social service agency, there was a noticeable difference in how the participants viewed themselves after they participated in the creation of digital content.

From Apathy to Action, Injustice to Repair: Motivating Secondary Students with Critical Literacy      

Mindy Keller-Kyriakides, Author, Student, Teacher, Capella University

Secondary students often ask, “How’s reading this going to help me in real life?” This webinar offers educators a potential answer! Helping students understand how the analysis of a text reveals messages to the reader through silence, marginalization, nominalization, or collectivization is a crucial skill, and by taking that analysis to the next step—civic action—we can help adolescents move beyond the classroom and themselves.

In our webinar, we’ll explore having students use their analysis as a springboard to identify and resolve an issue that they perceive as unjust. From selection of text, to analysis, to action, educators will be offered the tools to create a powerful learning experience for their students, based on the insights at which students arrive while reading. Participants will also be provided with a sample project that they might use or refine for their own purpose.

 12 PM, Saturday, November 2nd

 Social Networking lunch. Follow the hashtag #ReadWriteAct on Twitter for SCALE’s Twitter chat! For instructions on participating in a Twitter Chat, please check the program. It’s easy!

1 PM, Saturday, November 2nd

 Literacies Crossing Borders

Stacey Duncan, College Assistant Professor, New Mexico State University

Eileen Davis, New Mexico State University

This presentation focuses on literacies crossing borders, both literally and metaphorically; and how engaging these facets of literacy can recontextualize our understanding of social justice and equity in more transformative ways. We consider literacy and the literal sense of borders where the multiplicity of knowing the world is not acknowledged in the classroom nor beyond. When literacy is defined as only one way to know the word and the world, borders are created. Recognizing this within the way we communicate in our classrooms and beyond, we can then co-construct/co-create mutually shared meaning of our world, individually and collectively, locally and globally.

Africana CHANGE: Advancing Literacy Through Culture, History, & Social Justice

Jada Monica Drew, Director, Africana CHANGE-Guilford College

Literacy is best learned and practiced when people are excited about writing and when they write about their life experiences. During this presentation, participants will learn how best practices of how to connect culture and history to strong literacy practices through journaling and family research.

2 PM, Saturday, November 2nd

 Increasing Employability Outcomes and Workplace Literacy for Incarcerated Women

Alana Tutwiler, Reading Interventionist, Duval County Public Schools

This presentation will describe an employability skills workshop that I designed and created while working as an instructor in a non-profit, residential program for incarcerated women nearing the completion of their prison sentences. The goal of this presentation is to show how improving the employability skills and workplace literacy of incarcerated adults can improve their outcomes after release, especially for women, who are often primary caregivers for children.

Promoting Math and Print Literacy as a Form of Community Empowerment and Leader Development

Liz Barber, Sharon Jacobs, Karen Thompson, Dean Driver & Student Leaders from SMART PATH Tutoring for Social Justice

In urban East Greensboro, only 56% of kids of color are graduating from high school, and algebra is the gateway to college. SMART PATH Tutoring for Social Justice aims to level the playing field for children from this sector of Greensboro. During the current political climate in North Carolina, with funding decisions for education ignoring the needs of all but those born into a middle class lifestyle, communities must be strategic in providing the best educational opportunities for low income children. University students from North Carolina A&T, an historical black university (HBCU) work with public school principal Sharon Jacobs, Pathematics inventor Dean Driver, and Black Child Development director Karen Thompson, to provide the edge that may keep the door to higher education from closing on East Greensboro’s children.

In doing so, the partners are learning many things: how to organize a multifaceted community collaboration, how tutoring in such a program builds future leaders, the impact that having tutored children engage in service learning can have on their own literate development, as well as program outcomes for children.

Our presentation shares input from diverse stakeholders including university faculty and student program leaders, community agency, community member, and public school partners.

We examine 7 years of program development and outcomes for all involved.

3 PM, Saturday, November 2nd

Building your Literacy Coalition

Megan McCurley, Executive Director of SCALE; Sarah Pederson, Co-Chair of Enrich ESL, and Julia Hah, Co-Chair of Carolina Language Partnership

Come hear tips about how to build your literacy coalition, with case studies from two of the University of North Carolina’s student groups.

What is a tweet chat?

A tweet chat is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter through the use of Twitter updates (tweets) that include a predefined hashtag to link those tweets together in a virtual conversation. It is a great way for online users to get together at a specific time to discuss certain topics or issues on a platform where they can interact in real time.

What is a Hashtag?

The # symbol used with a series of letters and numbers is known as a “hashtag,” and adding the chat-specific hashtag to each of your tweets allows you to participate in the conversation. The hashtag is searchable and creates a way to filter the tweets that are part of the chat.

Our topic: Literacy Beyond the Classroom

Getting Started:

 The best way to learn about tweet chatting is to jump right in and start contributing to the conversation. Here are some easy steps to create your first tweet:

  • If you have a twitter go ahead and sign in!
  • In your search box at the top of your Twitter homepage, type our hashtag, #readwriteact, into the box. This should display all the tweets that were posted about the conversation. This is the place where you will be able to read everyone’s recent posts and the moderator’s questions and comments.
  • At the start of the tweet chat, the Moderator at SCALE will welcome you with a tweet that should automatically update on your screen where you searched for the hashtag.
  • When the moderator asks the first question, go ahead and write a response! The moderator will probably ask everyone participating in the chat to introduce themselves. To respond, click on the blue square at the top right corner of the page and compose a new tweet. Your answer has to be 140 characters or less and must contain the hashtag so that everyone can see it in the conversation.
  • Here is an example:
    • Moderator’s Tweet: “Welcome! Q1: What is your favorite webinar so far at the Read Write Act Conference? #readwriteact”
    • Your Tweet: “I loved the first webinar because it made me reconsider how I teach word recognition to students. #readwriteact.”

What next?

  • Reply: Stay engaged in the conversation by reading each participant’s tweets. If you like a particular tweet, reply and let them know! There is a small button that says “reply” at the bottom of each tweet. If you send the participant a tweet make sure to include the hashtag so that everyone sees it in the conversation.
  • Retweet: The moderator at SCALE will lead the discussion. They will re-tweet interesting tweets from the conversation and keep things flowing. Likewise, they will post questions to lead the conversation.
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